26 March

The future of finance is being built on Ethereum’s rails. Banks who have entered the digital arena have done so using Ethereum, most notably JP Morgan on its Onyx platform. Public sector trials for bond issuance were also executed using Ethereum, such as the one completed by the European Investment Bank. The preference for Ethereum came despite periods of high transaction fees and a long list of challenging upgrades. With the core of those upgrades close to completion, the focus will turn to scale.

Ethereum achieved a milestone with last week’s Merge. It is “only” public testing, but transactions are being validated for the first time. It is working. Scaling solutions to increase throughput and lower costs will accelerate innovation. Investor behavior is a vote of confidence – ether (ETH) is being valued as a reserve asset with a high store of value.

The successful start of the Merge has increased demand to stake ether (ETH). After the launch of public testing, ether staked on March 15 jumped by the second-highest one-day volume ever. Total ether staked is more than 2,000% the target needed to start the process as first determined in November 2021.

Ether is being transformed into a low-risk bond asset and it is cheap. The yield from staking generates a real cash flow that is paid in ether. Additional value that is extracted by miners will redirect to staking investors, translating to yields of around 10% in the initial instance. It is equivalent to a perpetual bond. It transforms ether into the low-risk asset inside of its ecosystem, like a banking reserve. A doubling in the value of ether to $6,000 is a low bar.

It is increasingly clear that the future of finance runs on Ethereum with ETH as a reserve asset to the ecosystem. It was worth the wait.”

See Also: Eth2 Development Update #34

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen acknowledged crypto’s growing role in American finance during an interview Friday, and said she will work towards creating a regulatory environment conducive towards continued innovation.

There have been benefits from crypto and we recognize that innovation in the payment system can be a healthy thing. We would like to come out eventually with recommendations that will create a regulatory environment [for] innovation.

Crypto has obviously grown by leaps and bounds, and it’s now playing a significant role … in [the] investment decisions of lots of Americans.

Yellen’s more constructive comments follow the Biden Administration’s executive order earlier this month calling for a “whole-of-government” approach to regulating crypto.”

Members of the European Parliament are likely to vote to end the anonymity of even small crypto payments at a committee meeting to be held next week. Lawmakers at the Economic Affairs Committee are also poised to include crypto transfers to self-hosted or private wallets (also referred to as unhosted wallets) in anti-money laundering (AML) checks.

Under existing laws, payees need to be identified for any bank transfer over EUR 1,000 ($1,099). The bloc’s national governments have already said they want to scrap that lower limit when extending the rules to crypto assets – on the basis that large transactions could just be broken up into smaller ones.

Parliament documents suggest lawmakers will also tell crypto service providers to refrain from making or aiding any transfers deemed at high risk of money laundering or crime. That will in practice make it harder, or perhaps impossible, to make transfers from the EU to anywhere deemed by the bloc as a tax haven, such as the U.S. and U.K. Virgin Islands, Turkey, Russia or Hong Kong, or places like Iran and the Cayman Islands seen as dirty-money hotspots.”

See Also: EU Passes Law to ‘Rein In’ Big Tech’s Domination Over Smaller Players

Indians will begin paying a capital gains tax of 30% on crypto transactions in just one week after Parliament passed a controversial tax proposal on Friday, sparking uproar and disappointment among those in the country’s crypto industry.

In addition to the capital gains tax, Indians buying or selling crypto will have to pay a 1% tax deducted at source (TDS), as well as taxes on crypto gifts, with no ability to take deductions for losses.

More than 20 members of the lower house of Parliament reacted strongly to the bill, with several members of Parliament saying that the crypto taxes will “finish the industry.” India’s crypto industry was overwhelming in its response, calling the passing of the bill without favorable amendments ‘one that will hamper the overall growth of the industry.’

This is not conducive for the government or the crypto ecosystem of India, it is poised to do more harm than good. This can result in cascading participation on Indian exchanges and lead to a rise in capital outflow to foreign exchanges.

We hope that in the subsequent years the crypto industry gets treated like other investment-related industries.”

Coinbase will soon require its customers in Canada, Japan and Singapore who send cryptocurrency to another financial institution or exchange to provide the name, address and in the case of Japan, the destination wallet of the recipient.

The changes will take effect in early April in order to comply with local travel rules in those places. The move does not seem to be going over well with Coinbase customers in those countries.”

See Also: Korean crypto exchanges are now in compliance with the Travel Rule

“Decentraland kicked off Metaverse Fashion Week: a combination of high-end designers and wearables vendors flaunting non-fungible token (NFT) collections in the blockchain-based virtual world.

Brands such as Estée Lauder, Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabbana and Forever 21 are all participating in the virtual fashion event. Many spent weeks laying claim to metaverse-ready trademarks in what now appears to have been a preemptive brand protection strategy ahead of their NFT premiere.

Fashion shows, galleries and brand-hosted panels will pop up across a newly-developed corner of Decentraland called Fashion District through March 27. Virtual real estate company Metaverse Group purchased the 6,000-square-foot plot last November for a record $2.4 million.”

The Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine is set to launch the MetaHistory NFT Museum, a blockchain-based chronicle of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The museum will showcase non-fungible tokens (NFT) in the form of digital art paired with written reflections. The first drop could come as soon as Tuesday.

Each NFT will sell for 0.15 ETH, and all profits from the initial sale will go to the Ministry of Digital Transformation’s wallet. The funds will be distributed to humanitarian aid efforts in Ukraine.

A key feature of storing data on the blockchain is immutability. Minting the artwork in the form of NFTs will help preserve it, while also raising money for the Ukrainian cause.”

“The prime minister of Vanuatu has officially given the green light to Satoshi Island.

Satoshi Island is a space in which crypto enthusiasts plan to reside — not visit. Community members will be living in sustainably-built homes in a community organized by decentralized autonomous organizations, or DAOs, where ownership is represented by NFTs.

Many of the past crypto megaprojects, from Akon City in Senegal to CryptoLand in Fiji, have failed.”